Spring 2012, Jackson Studio
Cameron Northrop’s thesis, Creative Commons, argues that architecture’s legacy as a monumental embodiment of a collective, top-down cultural message is obsolete given the culturally heterogeneous and ideologically diverse nature of contemporary culture. However, Cameron also contends that architecture’s nature as a mass medium can nevertheless be employed to give form and status to the bottom-up creativity of the contemporary public. Responding to Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s formulations of the multitude (a linked but otherwise diverse body of individuals) and the common (the means by which this multitude can spontaneously cohere to act in unison against the pressure of a globalized state), Cameron’s thesis suggests that architecture’s spatial influence over social relationships can allow a bottom-up reappropriation of architectural space to stimulate the multitude to act in common. His Think-Net project for New York City, grafted onto the Port Authority Bus Terminal and opposite the New York Times Headquarters, provides a highly visible infrastructure to support the individual and networked creative and intellectual production of this multitudinous public, to frame that production as important, to allow it to compete for attention within the otherwise highly saturated corporate-driven commercialized context of Manhattan, and to provide a space of public social encounter for the face-to-face exchange of information.